If you don’t have a contactless card yet then you’re likely to be in the minority, as figures from payment company Worldpay suggest that contactless payments began to overtake chip and pin earlier this year. in June, they accounted for 51% of card payments, rising to 52% in July. This is a huge increase compared to the previous year, as more shops begin to offer the service and more people become comfortable with the idea of simply tapping the card reader and moving on.
In honour of this financial fact, we decided to look at some of the latest innovations that aim to make it even easier for money to leave your wallet…
Reusable cups are becoming an important part of buying coffee on the go – as consumers have become aware of the issues with single use cups, these offer a convenient and eco-friendly alternative. A lot of coffee chains have started giving discounts for bringing a reusable cup, and most also encourage you to buy a branded cup from their own store.
Costa’s latest addition to the market, though, gives a unique offering. With a contactless payment chip embedded in the cup’s detachable base, you’re able to use the cup to pay for coffee and snacks in any branch. Effectively, it acts like a pre-paid gift card which you load up with money before visiting the store. Of course, you won’t be able to spend it elsewhere, meaning that this is likely to inspire coffee loyalty from anyone who buys into the gimmick.
PAYG Travel Fairs
If you’re a commuter in London then you may be able to save money by simply tapping your contactless payment card on the way in and out of the tube, rather than buying a ticket or loading up an oyster card. Contactless payment helps to speed up travel, and is being incentivised by daily fair caps which mean that frequent travellers can keep track of what they’re spending.
Away from the capital, contact payment cards are also slowly being integrated into other means of public transport: in many cities you can use your card on the bus or even in cabs. This will be a relief for anybody who’s sick of scrabbling for the right change!
In most contexts, contactless payments make it easier to spend money. But, as we move towards card payments for all of our day-to-day expenses it does make it harder to donate to charitable causes. Where once you might have thrown your spare change into a donation tin, now you find that your pockets are empty. Luckily, there are a range of different innovations coming that should help us give more back.
The Big Issue magazine, for instance, has announced plans to start kitting its sellers out with contactless card machines. This is being trialled in just a few UK cities over the next couple of months, although it’s likely to be rolled out more widely if it’s a success.
Another innovation for Londoners is the introduction of contactless giving points – simple ‘tap to pay’ spots across the city which allow people to donate £3 towards tackling homelessness. We certainly hope that these are a success, as it would be great to see them pop up in other cities and towns across the country.